The Robinson v. City of San Francisco case is about whether a state’s decision to take property for the ostensible purpose of economic development satisfies the 5th Amendment. The case arose when the City of San Francisco Development Corporation decided to condemn nine landowners’ properties in order to build a mixed-use development project. The landowners filed a restraining order against the Development Corporation, arguing that the taking of their property was not for a public purpose and thus violated the 5th Amendment.
The Supreme Court ultimately sided with the City of San Francisco, holding that the condemnation was for a public purpose and thus did not violate the 5th Amendment. However, the Court’s decision was not unanimous, and there was significant dissent from Justices Douglas and Thomas. In this essay, I will discuss the facts of the case, the 5th Amendment and its relation to economic development, the